31 Days in which I Am Saved by Beauty – Day 7

Have you ever been hungry for something
and didn’t know it
until you ate,
and found relief? 

Tonight, we held our first Taize worship service,
and I was filled with the sweet and savory
presence of the Lord. 

If you are unfamiliar with Taize, I write out for you here the descriptive paragraph found at the top of tonight’s worship folder:

A Taize service is a worship service of sung prayer and contemplation. The distinguishing marks include repetition and silence. Taize style prayer is repetitive with simple musical lines and core biblical texts that can be sung by a whole assembly. The assembly is to immerse itself in the simple but profound harmonies and let itself be carried by this sung prayer. Silence is perhaps the second most important aspect of this particular prayer practice. It is simply holding oneself in the presence of God and letting Christ, through the Holy Spirit, pray in us. The simple, repetitive prayers and an ample silence are means for the gathered assembly to “hear the Word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance.” (Luke 8:15)  

Candles, candles everywhere,

soft light spreading,
flicking
into dark corners,
lighting our way into the room. 

Thirty-five people, 
sitting spread out in the space,
two-thirds of them
under the age of 25.

Gentle singing, sweet harmonies, simple words . . .

“Come and fill our hearts with your peace,
you alone, O Lord, are holy…” 

“In the Lord I’ll be ever thankful, 
in the Lord I will rejoice!” 

“Nothing can trouble, nothing can frighten. 
Those who seek God never go wanting. 
God alone fills us.” 

A three-fold reading of Mark 10:13-16,
a lectio passage that spoke 
to the deepest places in my heart tonight.
“…that he might touch [the children]…
and he took them up in his arms, 
laid his hands on them, 
and blessed them.” 

“The kingdom of God is justice 
and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 
Come, Lord, and open in us the gates of your kingdom.” 

A penitential psalm . . .

“O Lord, hear my prayer. O Lord, hear my prayer:
when I call, answer me…” 

Space to make silent intercession for others. 


And then . . .

. . . this . . . 


Our worship leader led us in the refrain, 
“Adoremus Te Domine,”  
and then he chanted
very simply, 
these lines,
in between each simple singing of that phrase:

“Christ the Lord, you became poor and you offer the kingdom of heaven to the poor of the earth.”

“O Lord, gentle and humble of heart, you reveal a new world to all who abandon themselves; we receive of your fullness.” 

“O Lord, you fell prostrate on the ground, and you show us a path of consolation in our distress; you are the joy no one can take from us.” 

“O Lord, you shed your blood, and you give the cup of life to seekers after justice; you quench every thirst.” 

“O risen Lord, you showed yourself to the disciples and you pluck from our flesh our hearts of stone; we shall see you face to face.” 

“O Lord, you divest the powerful and clothe peacemakers in festal robes; you transform us into your likeness.” 

“O Lord, first of the living, you welcome into the kingdom all who die for you; we dwell in your love.” 

Sung liturgy. 

That’s what I was hungry for, 
starving for, 
in fact. 
And I didn’t even know it . . .
until I heard it. 
Until I took it in. 
listening,
eyes closed,
singing the refrain,
holding my just-lit Christ candle. 

Saved by beauty, indeed . . . indeed. 

As the service ended,
we each took our candles,
placing them in the white sand 
surrounding the 
One light that lit us all, 
a circle of flickering flame. 

And the melting candle wax
dripped onto my finger,
stinging, 
biting,
as I moved my one, 
lone light
to join the circle.

Because sometimes
to step into
the circle of light,
we have to burn a little.
Sometimes
we have to let ourselves
drop out of our
carefully shaped 
plastic holders 
right into the dust of the earth.

Oh, that the Flame would shine,
brilliant and true,
through the gathered Body –
in this place,
for this time.

Joining tonight with Michelle, Jen, Ann, Jenn – and with Laura and Laura this week, too:

 

 
MercyMondays150


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Comments

  1. This is beautiful Diana, wish I were there. I’ve participated in Taize a very few times and walked away changed.

  2. I always forget – during the in between – how much I love this style of worship and how grateful I am for it. And yes, it does change lives, in deep ways sometimes.

  3. Pretty 🙂 Neighbors with you this week on Playdates. Blessings.
    Grace For That

  4. Thanks for coming by and commenting, Katrina!

  5. lindalouise says:

    This is truly so beautiful Diana. I love this: “Sometimes to step into the circle of light we have to burn a little. Sometimes we have to let ourselves drop out of our carefully shaped plastic holders right into the dust of the earth.” Yes.

  6. Thank you, Linda. And as always – thanks for coming by and leaving such kind and encouraging words.

  7. That sounds absolutely wonderful. I’d love to attend a Taize service.

  8. Megan, you would love it. Your parish may do them on Wednesdays during Lent – lots of Catholic churches do. Check it out…

  9. Sounds quite similar to the mid-day prayers at the local monastery – minus the candles. There is something very lovely about it… and I’d love to have the opportunity to be at a Taize service!

  10. You have a local monastery? You’ve not mentioned that before, Donna. Check it out, friend. You might find a spiritual director, some regular liturgical worship that would bring you all kinds of good things. And Taize is definitely worth exploring – I love it, as do thousands of others around the world!

  11. I can feel the peace and beauty, Diana. Thanks for sharing the experience, and reminding us to take the time to slow down and “feel the sweet and savory presence of the Lord”!

  12. Oh, Diana, this is beautiful! Look at all that flicker–glowing glory. Such beauty for our good God. How it does save. Yes, indeed.

  13. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Kim. I appreciate it.

  14. Disqus is not working for me right now – at least in the way it has always worked. I respond to comments from my email inbox and have had no problem until this week. Now, it’s not working. So I’ve come over to say thank you for your kind words right here, on the blog itself. Maybe my original response will show up later today, but I wanted to be sure and let you know that I saw and appreciated these words, Laura.

  15. thanks for coming by and commenting, Kim.

  16. It does save me, time after time. And once you start looking for it? You see beauty everywhere – even in the most unlikely places.